RSS an epitome of selfless service
Source :NewsBharati   Date :11-Jun-2018



A file photograph of Malwan train accident happened in 2011

By Zafar Irshad

I had gone to cover RSS functions and programs many a times as a journalist but I have scant knowledge about RSS. However, I am perplexed by the hue and cry raised over the visit of former President Pranab Mukherjee to RSS headquarter in Nagpur. These are the people who have not seen the service activities of RSS from a close quarter. I as a journalist have seen their selfless service activities closely and find myself driven by an irresistible urge to write about them today. I am not aware whether the RSS is anti-Muslim or Pro-Hindu neither do I have any experience, but this much I can vouchsafe based on my personal experience that RSS is not anti-Humanity. In my 24-year journalistic stint I have watched these RSS people to extend selfless service that too silently, to the affected persons on a number of occasions but I have seldom come across their role in a communal tension. But I am not aware if any journalist or leader had seen their involvement in conflict and riot. And yes, I want to clarify one thing that I am not associated with either the RSS or the BJP in any manner, even remotely. I am a pure journalist who has not covered any RSS or BJP beat in my career…

July 10, 2011. I was on duty as a chief reporter of a news agency in Kanpur. Being Sunday I was having a leisure time. Suddenly at around 1 pm my editor from Delhi rang me saying that there was a major train mishap at Malwa near Fatehpur. Get ready to go there, he asked me. I was shocked. I telephoned my sources in the railways and they confirmed the news of a major accident. I left immediately to the place. I reached the accident place after traveling for an hour. The mishap location was at 10-12 km from Malwa and to reach there I have to traverse about 4 km through fields to reach the spot situated at an isolated location. There was no human settlement nearby.

After reaching the spot I got to work without wasting time and started my reporting job to intimate my editor and Desk in Delhi about the mishap. Bodies were taken out from the bogies and injured persons were taken to hospitals. It was a terrifying scene. A child had lost parents, or somebody lost her husband and brother, somebody was weeping while some others unable to bear the pains were crying. Bodies were taken out from the bogies and placed in a nearby field. Then I saw some men in Khaki covering the bodies with a while cloth because they were badly deformed and disfigured. Later these bodies would be sent to hospital for post-mortem.

Now I shifted to a place where the relatives of those killed in the mishap were seated hungry and thirsty weeping at their misfortune and praying for the peace of those dear ones who had left them. Then I saw some people serving them tea, water and biscuits. Besides me there were some two dozen other journalists who had come there to cover the incident. A person came to me with tea in a plastic glass and two biscuits. The tea was no less than a five-star hotel tea for me and other journalists working in that isolated place for about four hours.

 

This aroused my curiosity as to who are these people distributing tea, water and biscuits free of cost to all. Are they government servants doing this work? I stopped one of them and asked him, “Bhaisahab, why are you distributing this and on whose behalf?” He just smiled and said “in case you need more tea please come to the peepul tree”. To satisfy my curiosity I followed him to the peepul tree situated at a distance. On reaching there I saw a unique scene. Around two dozen house ladies were busy cutting vegetables and kneading the flour, nearby, on a chulha, tea was being brewed on a large pot, and hundreds of biscuit packets were there besides drums of potable water from where it was packed in polythene bags to be distributed to accident victims.

One senior person clad in kurta and pyjama was giving instructions to all the men and women to speed up their work. I went to him to ask his name but he just smiled and said nothing. I introduced myself as Jafar, journalist and asked him about his introduction as to which organization or institution he belonged to. I told him that I would write news report about the service they are rendering to these accident victims. As soon as he heard the word news, he went away from me and started serving tea and water to the victims without asking for his name, religion or caste.

I too got busy in counting the bodies and talking to officers engaged in relief operations and sending the reports to my office. It was around midnight and the work to extricate bodies from the train was still going on. Suddenly, the same person whom I met in the afternoon came to me and handed over a polythene bag to me. “What is there in this bag”, I asked. “Nothing, just four rotis and subzi”, he replied. “You have been busy reporting since afternoon and must have been hungry”. And hungry was I indeed! But I said to him that I would eat on condition that he reveals his name and the organization he worked for. He sought promise from me that I would not publish any news about him or his work to which I agreed. Then he said they were the swayamsevaks of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and with mutual coordination and cooperation making arrangements for food and water for the victims of the train mishap.


 

My journalist mind said you can write a wonderful report on this. I insisted on knowing his name. He declined and reminded me of my promise I made to him earlier that I would not publish anything about them. Then I asked him about the ladies who were busy making tea and cooking food for the whole day here. He replied that they are from our families. I asked him about the white cloth used to cover the bodies and he said this cloth is voluntarily donated by our swayamsevaks who run a cloth shop; the flour and cooking oil is provided free of cost by those who have a grocery shop and so on. I asked him that the RSS is an organization of Hindus and how you are working among these varied people? He replied, “Bhaisahab, we are helping all those who are injured in this accident and their family members by serving them food and tea; we are not asking their names. Our organization believes in serving the needy and affected and not to ask their names and religion. I said you are covering the bodies with white cloth also. He said, we are only covering the bodies and we do not know the name or religion of the dead, neither have we felt any necessity to know.

Saying these words, that honest servant of Khuda went away without sharing his name or revealing his identity with this promise in mind that I would not publish this news.

I remained at the accident spot for about 36 hours and seen these people serving the passengers of the mishap, journalists, and officers posted on duty there. And when I scanned through all the newspapers, I did not come across any news revealing the names of these people who selflessly served the victims.

(The author is a senior journalist with a career of over two decades)